Bus drivers drafted in from other depots to help Stroud district

THE chaotic bus service in Stroud district has been alleviated today after drivers were drafted in from other areas, a councillor has said.

There have been many cancellations in the area since August 29, which bus firm Stagecoach has said is due to a shortage of drivers, caused by Brexit and the pandemic.

However, today (Wednesday) there were no disruptions to service.

Gloucestershire County Councillor John Bloxsom (Labour, Rodborough) said there is currently an acute driver shortage at the Stroud Stagecoach depot, which runs the firm’s services in the district.

“We are aware that there’s a driver shortage, but it’s apparently worse in Stroud district,” he said.

He believes there are currently 30 drivers, meaning that they are 10 short of what they should have.

But today (Wednesday), drivers from other depots helped to fill the gap.

Cllr Bloxsom said: “My understanding is that as of yesterday the Stroud depot was 10 drivers short.

“Stagecoach are in the process of covering local routes out of other depots – Swindon, Chipping Norton, Witney – to relieve some of the pressure.

“There are Stagecoach West cancellations elsewhere today, so it may be they are switching resources around due to the acute problem in Stroud District.”

The councillor added that despite the absence of cancellations in Stroud today, there’s an underlying problem which remains.

He said: “We urge the company to address the associated pay, conditions and management issues.

“Bus transport is vital, to help reduce car use and cut carbon emissions.

“We are calling on the County Council, which is the local transport authority, to do all that is within its power.

“A report about buses to next week’s County Cabinet talks about a “high level strategy” – we need to see resources committed now to get this sorted.”

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